Best Fishing Apps for 2017Best Fishing Apps for 2017 Keeping a fishing log WILL make you a better fisherman. These apps make it easy for you.
By M.L. Anderson
One of the easiest ways to make yourself a better bass angler is to keep a log. Keep notes on the lake, the conditions, the bait you used, the technique, the spot, the weather conditions, moon phase, and anything else you feel is important. When you start to get enough data, you can look back and see patterns and then you’ll know what to do and what to use at certain times on certain lakes. You can do this on plain old paper if you want to, and organize by month, season, lake, or whatever.
Two issues with paper logs include:
1. Time to maintain – You need to sit down and write that stuff out at the end of the day. Plus, you have to either write as you go or at least take notes while you’re fishing.
2. Finding what you’re looking for – It can be hard to find information, especially after years of logging. There is just so much paper and so many pages that it takes forever to cull out the information you need for a trip. This is where fishing log apps come in. There many different kinds of apps – some are so automatic they seem like they belong in a science fiction movie, and some require quite a bit of manual input. They also have various price points. So, we did some research, talked to some developers, and put together a list of apps you should consider to make 2017 the year you begin your serious quest to be a better angler.
ANGLR TRACKING SYSTEM
What happens when three fishermen with backgrounds in wearable tech start to argue over who has caught the most fish in the past three days? Landon Bloomer, one of the developers of the Anglr Tracking System, says that the fact that he had been keeping a log, like his dad and granddad before him, helped him win that contest. But it set them all to thinking, and in December of 2016 they launched the Angler Tracking System. In reality, it is three systems in one, starting with the free app.
The Anglr app automatically captures your GPS position and the weather conditions; plus, if you’re fishing near a water gauge, it also automatically uploads any water condition info from that – such as height, flow, tide, and water temperature. Each catch is precisely logged.
You can also create a virtual tacklebox, so you can link the bait to each catch. There are NO in-app purchases: the app is completely free. You do need to open the app and record each fish, and when you first start using it you need to enter baits and equipment, but the longer you use it, the more streamlined it becomes. You can snap photos from inside the app, log catches, drop pins, mark honey holes, all with a touch. There is plenty of room to add notes, weights, etc, and it works entirely offline, so you don’t need cellular data or a wi-fi connection to use it. Since Google Earth is integrated, you can even explore the lake without even moving. It’s fantastic, and if you want to, you can take it up a notch by getting a subscription.
The Anglr Log Book is an online subscription ($50/yr) that allows you to review all of your logged info on your PC or Mac, and it breaks down each day in detail to show you trends and patterns you probably never noticed before. You’ll see relationships of barometric pressure to catches, for instance – stuff you wouldn’t probably even be able to log if you were doing it on paper. Because the app records the weather conditions at the time, you’ll see how wind changes affected your fishing. It analyzes colors, conditions, etc. If you use in on a three-day pre-fish, for instance, you’ll get an incredible amount of information that will help you decide what to do and where to go as conditions change during the day.
The company has a ton of stuff in store for this, with the goal of staying focused on the angler improving himself. Landon Bloomer says that if people don’t catch fish, they quit fishing, and his company wants to do all they can to keep that from happening. If you don’t renew your subscription, you have three years before the info is deleted, so you can always come back.
The ultimate step in the Anglr Tracking System is the Tracker. This actually attaches to your rod and detects hooksets automatically. The sensor links to the app via Bluetooth and automatically records each fish. You confirm a catch by pressing a button on the Tracker. It drops a pin automatically for each fish, and records all the weather and water information available. Because the tracker can detect casts and hooksets, you’ll see things like your catch to cast ratio. You can also manually drop waypoints by double-clicking.
At the end of the day, all of this detail is available, and you never had to pick up a pen or open your phone. They’re even working on an algorithm that will show you what cadence you were using to catch a fish – it will backtrack 30 seconds before the hookset so you can see what triggered the bite. The Tracker is $139 and comes with two mount kits and a year of the Anglr Log Book. The mount kits attach to your rod with o-rings, and the Tracker snaps in. You just switch it from rod to rod, and the entire thing weighs about the same as 4 paper clips. Extra rod mounts are $10 each.
The company has a ton in store, says Bloomer, including something they are calling Squads, which will be sort of like Instagram, allowing you to tag your buddies (your Squad), and share info in real time. You’ll be able to share valuable info or just photos if you wish, and you can allow your squad to tap into live feeds so they can see you moving around the lake, dropping pins, etc. This will be something that will work even if you don’t have the Tracker – it will all be completely free. Works with Android as well as iOS. Check it out at anglr.com.
ConnectScale is a Bluetooth smart digital scale and fishing app for both Android and iOS devices. When you weigh a fish, it enters the information on the app with no need to pull your phone out. It will also assign a color so that you can clip a culling ring to the fish (no holes required), which means you can instantly cull the right fish every time. You do need to enter some stuff manually at first, but it also has an autofill that will use the data from the previous catch if you want. It marks waypoints and catches with GPS and also enters weather info. Just weigh a fish and it automatically enters air temperature, date, time, and GPS location.
You can share via Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. All you need to do is turn the app on and leave it running in the background on your phone. The app gives you plenty of room for notes and detail, and the summary gives you pie charts, time charts, shows you the pins on your map, etc. You can choose to share GPS or not. The whole package – ConnectScale plus the Clip-N-Cull, is $119 online at connectscale.com.
The Fatsack app does a lot of different things. It lets you keep track of your tackle box (including a scan tool!), keeps a catch log, lets you create and join tournaments, analyzes your data, allows you to post to bragboards, and even includes articles and videos about everything fishing related. The app also integrates with the ConnectScale to make keeping the log even easier. Just weigh a fish, and all the pertinent info is automatically recorded. If you want to add more detail, you can do that by simply talking to the app instead of having to type. You create favorite rigs by adding all your best gear, and that can be added to the log as well.
As is true with all the apps, there is some manual entry when you first start using it. You need to enter your lures and your equipment if you want to keep track of that, and if you don’t have the ConnectScale you will need to log each fish that you catch. But that’s as easy as pressing a button – and it looks like a fat sack of fish.
This app also has a pre-fish page for many waterways, so if you’re in unfamiliar territory, you can get tips before you head out. Some even have hotspots marked. You can check to see if any tournaments are going on near you or even start one yourself, and it can be public or private. Fatsack is free, and offers in-app purchases of waypoint packs for $10 each. Available for iOS and Android. http://fatsackoutdoors.com/
FISH-N-LOG PROFESSIONAL SUITE
Tournament angler Marc Marcantonio swears by Fish-N-Log Professional Suite. Written by the same guy who wrote the tournament software that most circuits, use, the Fish-N-Log lets you keep track of things like water color, visibility, depth, etc. He keeps track of time of day, area, structure, methods, and tackle. You can scan or draw in maps, and the program includes a query wizard for searching. This information is not automatic, however – you need to enter everything manually.
However, this is one of the things that Marc likes about this software. He says that taking the time to enter it manually allows him to be introspective about his day and think about what he could have done differently. There is a huge text field so he can enter as much detail as he wishes.
Marc has been using this for years, so he can use the sort and search to compare all his trips to certain lake and zero in on the time and weather conditions he’ll be facing on his next trip. He says he can see trends and patterns he never noticed before, and this allows him to compete with pros who are on the water every day.
In addition to the Fishing Log, this suite also has a tournament tracking program called Compete-N-Log that you can use to keep track of winnings, expenses, and travel info such as contacts, lodging, restaurants, etc. The Equip-N-Log lists your equipment in detail, including purchases, repairs, maintenance, to-do lists, etc. These two additional programs are really helpful at tax time and for insurance purposes. The Fish-N-Log Professional Suite is only available for Windows, and it’s $49.95 at blog.taysys.com.
FISHBRAIN SOCIAL FISHING
Fishbrain is a social app that lets people log their catches and places. It’s free, but to plan your trip with forecasts and unlock all the shared fish catch locations and best baits, it’s $5.99/month or $59.99/year. You can “follow” other fishermen, and it will search your contacts for you. Most of the entering is manual. You log all the information you want, then choose what to make public. However, the more catches are made public, the better the app is. Works on iOS and Android. https://fishbrain.com/
Fishaholics is an app that is social like Fishbrain, but with no in-app purchases. It’s also very easy to use, without a lot of clutter. It uses GPS to mark waypoints and drop pins (you pay for that with Fishbrain), and any user can see all the shared information. It works even if you’re without internet or cellular – all free. It autologs weather, location, moon phases, and the map shows where fish are being caught. You can choose what to share, and they have 15,000 users in 40 countries so you can get advice from your fishing buddies no matter where your travels take you. It also accurately logs weather info from old photos and will give you alerts when fish are being caught near you. There are photo filters built in, and all you have to do to log a catch is take a photo of it. Right now the app is iOS only, but they’re working on the Android version. https://www.fishaholicsapp.com/
ANGLERS’ LOG FISHING JOURNAL
If all you want is an app that will create a fishing log for you, the Anglers’ Log Fishing Journal will do that for you for free. It allows you to log details like photos, baits, and techniques, and it automatically acquires your location and the weather for each catch. However, you do have to tap the fields to get these, so it is basically all manual entry. But, the app is totally free and that’s a huge plus – if it gets you to start keeping a log, it has done its job. Works on Android as well as iOS.
The modern-day angler has an incredible variety of options when it comes to keeping a fishing log, and the only really bad decision is not to keep one at all. Either pull out the old notebook or go online and get an electronic version. Your options range from totally automatic to totally manual, share or don’t share, share with everyone, or just your squad. It’s up to you. But keeping a fishing log WILL make you a better fisherman, so even if you have fished for years without doing it, start today.
Grow your fishing skills and improve your angling effectiveness.
Subscribe to the free weekly BassResource newsletter.